...been struggling with hearing aids

Hi all

Sorry I’m new to hearing aids and whilst I am not new to hearing loss I certainly feel like I am!

I am 35 now and have probably had mild to moderate (higher frequency) loss since a young child. Found out first 13 years ago when I went for a medical to work on the railways, I scraped through but they would only give me a pass for a couple of years (rather than the usual 10) - until then I had thought all was fine.

Things came to a head last year when I shouted at my son for not looking at me when he was talking, “How am I supposed to hear you” etc etc. Hubby then insisted I went to be checked.

Anyway, hospital gave me Oticon Spirit Zests for both ears. 8 months later I am still struggling with them. I have the ones with the little tubes and domes - they itch! Are they always like that? I have cut off the extra bit of tube that curls inside your ear and they are now bearable. But I still find that I am really self conscious - people’s eyes are drawn to my ears when I am wearing them. And I really can’t work out how to use the phone with them in so I keep taking them out to make a call - every 5 minutes while I’m at work!

I appreciate my problems are probably trivial compared to some. I can survive without the aids but having to constantly say pardon, encourage people to face me and having to concentrate hard to understand is getting me more and more down. None of my friends or family having hearing loss so I have nothing to compare against really :frowning:

Thanks, Helen

Hi Helen,

I take it you got these HA’s from the NHS?

Here in the UK, an employer must make reasonable adjustments if you have a disability and that means they must provide environmental aids in order to assist you to do your job properly and that includes helping you to hear on the phone! Contact Jobcentre plus and ask to speak to their Access to Work officer, he should get the ball rolling? Also contact your local Social Work, they should have a team designated to sensory impairment somewhere in your area, ask to speak to one of their Social Workers! Contact your Audiology department and tell them you are not happy with these HA’s and can you try something else because you are struggling! Lastly, try and find out where you local Deaf Club is as they normally run some form of Lip Reading classes and join up, there you will meet other like minded souls whom will not only teach you new skills, you will also encounter many folk whom have the same or similar problems as yourself and they will give you excellent advice… Ultimately you may find great new friends whom understand and you will not feel so isolated :smiley:

Good luck, cheers Kev.

Hi Kev, thanks for your post

Yes NHS. They have been good up until now but have just put back my review appointment another 2 months (for the second time) so feeling a bit dejected.

I work for a small company and my employer is very good really. He would anything he needed to help me - suppose I should mention something really. I was thinking of just wearing the left one and keeping the right one out so I could make calls - does this sound daft? Will it help do you think?

I was also just looking around these forums and other posters have mentioned that for someone like me (who has most likley had hearing loss for a long time but not done anything to correct it) it will take longer to teach my brain how to use the hearing aids effectively? Do I just have to ‘man up’ and persevere with them more?


Hi Helen,

Yeah you should tell your boss you are struggling, he can’t help you if he is unaware of your problem! The NHS sucks with regards to their appointment system, also the types of HA’s they give you which are normally 3-4 or 5 years out of date!!! Also you may require the telecoil switched on, if your hearing aids have this feature, if not ask the NHS for ones that do! There are many environmental aids out there to help you, to give you some idea of what’s out there, I will post a link of a personal friends website (Steve Smith) at SJS Services, Steve is very helpful and very knowledgable so feel free to contact him by phone or email, although he is selling the stuff, I have always found him to be totally unbiased and upfront:D Steve is fluent in BSL (British Sign Language) I believe his parents are both profoundly Deaf? Your boss could use his mail order to source environmental equipment you will require to do your job. You do not have to keep pulling out your aids as there are Bluetooth devices that work with telecoil/loop!

Yeah, you have to “man the f@ck up” Helen or you will always struggle, build up gradually until you with your HA’s until you wear them all day, takes a long time to get used to them!

Cheers Kev:D

I also found the domes itched to start with. When I mentioned this to my audiologist they gave me slightly larger domes. That made the Dome more stable in my ear canal, and the itching disappeared.:smiley:

With the Phone - I use the Streamer - and the phone adapter. Is that an option with your NHS aid?

If you can’t get used to the tubes and domes you may be can have the aids switched to a hook with an ear mold which are easier in my opinion to get used to. My wife has HA which had small domes that were driving her nuts with the itching and her audi changed them to larger domes that helped a lot.
If you can use a streamer with your Oticons do it you will not be sorry.


Thank you everyone

I have been looking up the streamer (never heard of anything like that before) and it looks like a great product.

Will investigate further and will ‘man the @#$! up’ ! (Thanks Kev :slight_smile:

Hi Helen

You are very much welcome:D

On a personal note; “Man the f@ck up”, was my boy’s favorite saying, he was tragically killed on a call out at just 22 years of age (Black Ice, strait into a tree, he died instantly!!!) on January 17th 2010, he was a HGV Mechanic and had won UK Apprentice Mechanic of the year for his company (Scania) in 2008! I brought him up from the age of 9 (I was a house husband) he was my step-son, but he was mine! Good looking boy and full of fun, what a waste! Anyhow, it brought a tear to my eye and some very fond memories, when I used the words… So thank you Helen, been wanting to say that to someone, since he died!

You may check out the link below for further info on environmental aids? Conavans are an excellent company here in the UK and there is not much they do not stock for the hearing impaired! I have bought quite a few things from them and they ship their gear very fast!

Cheers Kev :smiley:


His words helped us both :slight_smile:

The good ones are never forgotten x

I had to have custom ear molds made for my aids not (as some users do) because of the nature of my hearing loss but for retention–one of the little open-ended buggers kept slipping out of my ears no matter what the audiologist tried to improve the fit.

But it turned out I liked the ear molds better, anyways, for reducing itchiness induced by open fit domes. For me, they were more comfortable. I also heard the phone better with the aids in using ear molds. Some people prefer them, some people don’t. The only way to know for sure whether they’ll work for you is to try them.

I also have Oticon Spirit Zests via the NHS - and they are not bluetooth enabled and won’t work with the streamer.

I understand that the Connect version of this aid is available via the NHS but my trust will not dispense it - which is enormously frustrating - but you may have better luck